West Brom – Fulham: Matheus Pereira and West Bromwich Albion were let down by defending, again, as Fulham scored late to draw the Baggies 2-2 at the Hawthorns on Saturday.
One point was not the goal for either Sam Allardyce’s West Brom nor Scott Parker’s Fulham. The 18th-place Cottagers have 14 points to the Baggies’ 12.
Brighton is the target in 17th place with 18 points prior to Sunday’s match versus Spurs.
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Galatasaray loanee Mbaye Diagne got an assist on his West Brom debut when he set up Matheus Pereira for a 67th-minute goal.
Pereira had set up Kyle Bartley just after halftime to tie the match after Bobby Decordova-Reid put Fulham ahead early.
But Fulham got a deserved equalizer through two substitutes, Harrison Reed whipping a cross to the back post for Ivan Cavaleiro’s diving header in the 77th minute.
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Three things we learned from West Brom – Fulham
1. Pereira is West Brom’s hope: Matheus Pereira’s adaptation to the Premier League was always going to be a huge part of West Brom’s chances to stay in the Premier League and he’s found his footing for sure. The 24-year-old Brazilian winger now has four goals in four games and was unlucky not to register an assist on his deflected pass to Bartley for the opener. If he finds chemistry with Mbaye Diagne (see Point No. 3), look out.
2. Fulham gutsy performances mean little without wins: The Cottagers are apparently trying to draw their way out of the bottom three, looking so much better since December. Fulham has lost just twice in nine matches, but the other seven have all been draws dating back to a Dec. 13 home split with Liverpool.
3. Diagne the not-so-secret weapon: The Baggies may have to outscore teams rather than outfox them to stay up and Gala loanee Diagne has production in his locker. The Premier League is a step-up for the veteran center forward who brings four double-digit goal seasons in the Turkish top flight and did very well to set up Pereira’s would-be match-winner.
Man of the Match: Matheus Pereira
West Brom – Fulham recap
The Cottagers fired out of the gates and Bobby Decordova-Reid could’ve had two in the first 20 minutes.
He got one when Aleksandar Mitrovic played him into the right side of the box, but was denied a second by the goal post on a similar-looking chance.
Antonee Robinson won a corner kick in the 22nd as Fulham kept hunting a second goal.
Sam Johnstone kept the Baggies in the game, denying an off-balance Ademola Lookman before the half-hour mark.
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West Brom scored with what was probably its first proper threat of the game, Bartley quick to poke Matheus Pereira’s deflected cross in front of Alphonse Areola.
The Baggies got a terrific bounce to take the lead, substitute Diagne getting an assist on debut with a cross that Pereira shot off a Fulham defender for 2-1.
But a beautiful cross from Reed, ably cued by Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, was met by a Cavaleiro’s equally-pretty diving header to tie it up again.